Disclaimer: I do not own Harry, or Al, or Scorpius, or James, or... Okay, you get the point.
Albus Potter and Teddy Lupin, Beautiful Chapter Image by AzureSeas @ TDA
I stand alone by the lake, watching it glitter in the sun. Some people would think this behavior odd. But, no.
Not for me.
I’m Albus Severus Potter.
The Slytherin. The oddball. Some people say that I’m not really a Potter.
I shake my head and turn back to the lake, when suddenly a voice from behind me say, “Al.”
I turn. “What is it, Hugo?” I ask my little cousin.
Hugo ended up in Ravenclaw, just like Rose, and the three of us, along with Louis (a Hufflepuff) are the only ones who aren’t in Gryffindor in our family. We are all very close.
Hugo bites his lip and says, “Headmistress McGonagall told me to come find you. She stopped me in the halls. It must be important.”
I stand up, “Alright,” I say. I ruffle his hair as I walk by and step back into the school. I stop in front of the Gargoyle and say, “Albus Dumbledore.”
The Gargoyle turns up to reveal the staircase and I step through. I knock when I reach the door, and someone calls out, “Come in!”
I open the door and stop in surprise. Headmistress McGonagall is staring down at her hands, and my Mum sits across the desk from her, sobbing.
My eyes widen. “Mum?” I ask. I rush up to her, my bag hitting the floor as I kneel down next to her chair. “What’s wrong?”
Headmistress McGonagall stands up. “I will find James and Lily,” she tells us before leaving.
“Mum?” I ask again.
She wraps her arms around me, shaking and I wrap my arms around her shuddering shoulders and say, “Wh—what is it? What’s wrong?”
I swallow. Is Grandpa dead? He’s been sick lately, and…
But then, wouldn’t all of the cousins be in here, not just me, and soon James and Lily as well?
… Bloody hell.
“Mum, where’s Dad?” I whisper, fear leaking into my voice.
“He—He’s— gone,” she cries. “Nobody knows where he is. He disappeared.”
I swallow; I turn sharply to the side, letting out a breath. It can’t be… Not Dad… No… He wouldn’t…
Mum lets go of me and I stand up and walk over to the window, biting a trembling lip. Dad can’t be gone.
I allow a few tears to drip down my face before I take a shuddering breath and think, no, Al. You can’t be like this. Think of James… And Lily and Mum and everyone else. Be brave. You might be a Slytherin instead of a Gryffindor, but you have to do this for them.
I roll my eyes slightly. So much for cunning and ambition and all that looking out for only yourself stuff.
I breathe in and out deeply a few more times, and then the door slides open. Lily and James follow Headmistress McGonagall inside.
Lily’s voice dies in her throat as she sees Mum sobbing in the chair. James and Lily look around in panic, and then their eyes land on me.
“Al?” Lily asks. “What’s happening?”
I stare at her sadly, trying not to cry again. Tears fill my eyes anyway. I turn away, looking out the window.
This sets Lily and James off the edge. They have never seen me cry before.
James looks back and forth between Mum and I and says, “What’s going on? Mum? Al? Please…”
I turn my head slightly, my breath hitching, and say, “D—Dad…”
“What?” Lily breathes. “What?”
“He’s gone,” I choke out, my voice breaking.
It takes a moment for it to settle in, but when it does, Lily begins to cry.
James freezes, his eyes going wide behind his glasses, his breaths becoming distinctly shallow.
Headmistress McGonagall sighs. “All the important tests for the year are done,” she says softly to Mum. “We only have three weeks left. Take your children and go home, please.”
Mum nods slowly, still crying softly.
Headmistress McGonagall turns to us and says, “Pack your bags, and deliver these forms to your teachers, please.”
She hands each of us a small stack of papers. We stand there for a moment.
James is still completely frozen, his eyes flickering back and forth, shock written across every line of his face.
Lily continues to sob, looking like she’s not ever going to move.
I walk to the door and leave quietly, taking my forms with me. I drop off all my forms for my classes—Astronomy, Herbology, Transfiguration, Arithmancy, Potions, and Divination (Aunt Hermione about had a conniption when she found out I was taking the subject and acing it)—without any problems except the one for Defense against the Dark arts.
When I walk into the classroom, Professor Lupin (Teddy, it stinks to call him Professor) is chatting with Rose, Dom, Louis, Roxie, Fred, Molly, Lucy, and Hugo.
All of my cousins?
I stop in the doorway.
Rose spots me first and waves cheerily. “Hey, Al! Beautiful Saturday, isn’t it?” I shrug, not meeting her eyes. She sees right through that of course. “Is something wrong?” She asks, alarmed.
Everyone else has stopped talking to look at the two of us.
I silently hold the form out to Teddy.
He takes it, glances at it and asks, “What’s this for?” He blinks, scans it over again and says, “You’re leaving?”
“What?” Roxie cries.
“It’s just for the end of this school year,” I say in a monotone voice. I stare at the stone floor. “We’ll be back for next year.”
“‘We’?” Hugo quotes. “As in James and Lily are leaving too? All three of you? Why? What’s going on?”
I take another shuddering breath, and yank my bag strap further up my shoulder. “I’ll see you guys later,” I say, my voice still flat.
I turn from the classroom, all of them calling after me, “Al, what’s going on?” and “What are you doing?”
I take off to the Slytherin dormitories and stop in front of the tapestry. “Basilisk,” I whisper, and the tapestry swings aside.
I walk quickly through the common room, ignoring everyone in there and up to the Sixth year boy’s dorms.
I change out of my cloak and into a sweatshirt, and slip on jeans instead of the nicer pants that I was wearing a moment ago.
I am packing quietly when a voice demands, “Is something wrong with the wittle baby Potter?”
I freeze, but then shake my head and return to the task at hand.
“Oh, come on Potter, you arse. What are you doing?”
I don’t respond.
“Potter’s running away, Potter’s running away, Potter’s—”
“Stop,” somebody says.
I close my trunk and turn around to see Scorpius Malfoy glaring at the other Slytherins.
I nod to him, and he nods back.
He looks at me carefully. I’m sure he catches every little sign of the devastation that is slowly sinking down on me.
His silver eyes narrow and he stares at me for a moment. He opens his mouth to say something, but I turn away before he can.
Scorpius and I were never friends. I mean, he hasn’t been exceptionally rude or anything, but we just never really talked that much.
I drag my trunk past the Defense against the Dark arts classroom and stop. The door is still open.
Everyone looks up at me.
I am about to turn away when Lily and James wander in.
James looks shell-shocked, and completely unsteady. He is shaking, barely able to hold the papers in his hands still.
Lily is trying very hard not to cry, biting her lip, taking in deep, slow breaths.
I leave my trunk in the hall and follow them into the classroom. They hand Teddy their papers as Hugo asks, “What’s going on?”
James freezes again, staring at the floor, unable to speak.
Lily starts to cry again.
I close my eyes and whisper, “Lils, Jamie…”
Lily runs from the room, crying uncontrollably.
James still hasn’t moved.
Truthfully, I think he forgot how to breathe.
Rose looks between the two of us. “Tell us what’s going on,” she orders, biting her lip, her blue eyes staring us down.
“I—I have to pack,” James says, and he leaves quickly.
“Al?” Louis asks.
I look up at them and sigh. “I… I can’t… Teddy…”
Teddy’s eyes snap to mine. He drags me outside and shuts the door, ignoring the other’s protests.
“What is it?” He asks.
“I… Dad…” I whisper.
His eyes go wide, and he turns pale. “What about him?”
“He’s missing. Nobody knows where he is.”
Teddy goes even paler, and his eyes and hair turn a depressing, dark color. He bites his lip. “That’s not possible.”
I sniffle. “You think that I want to believe it?”
Teddy shudders, still pale, and whispers, “Go.” I turn to leave and he says, “Al.”
I stop and look at him. He yanks me to him and hugs me fiercely.
I pull back and we stare at each other. I grab my trunk and run.
Everything is quiet at home. I can hear Mum and Lily crying, James throwing things at his wall.
We’ve kept this up for weeks. It’s exactly the same.
Mum and Lily cry themselves to sleep every night.
James throws anything he can find at his bedroom walls.
And I sit here on my bed, just listening to them. I don’t know what else to do. There is nothing else I can do.
Tomorrow is the last day for this year of Hogwarts.
Everyone will be home soon.
Soon, everyone will know that something is wrong with us.
I slip silently from my room, shutting the door behind me. I set off to Dad’s study, also a small library in search of a book to read.
I step softly across the carpet and halt as I shut the door behind me. It smells like Dad in here.
Why did I never think of it before?
Dad smelled like fresh oranges. The smell after it’s just rained. Fresh grass. Clean laundry.
Dad smelled like home.
like home, not smelled
. He’s not dead. He’ll come back.
He has to.
He has to.
I hear the knock on the door.
Mum and Lily are in their rooms crying. They almost never leave anymore. I have to bring them dinner.
James is pacing up the hall, pausing every once and a while to kick something and try and get his anger out.
I sigh and answer the door.
Teddy stands there.
He stares at me for a moment before saying, “Grandma invited you all to dinner tonight with everybody else. The others want to know where you all are.”
I bite my lip. “Mum and Lily won’t make it,” I tell him honestly. “They haven’t left their rooms in days.” I glance behind me as I hear a loud crash and a shattering noise. Teddy looks around, wild-eyed. I wince. “And James…”
Teddy’s eyes widen. “That was him?”
I nod slowly. “He’s been throwing things at walls for days. Pacing. He won’t make it very long either.”
Teddy swallows, but finally says, “Can you come? They need to know, and I don’t want to tell them alone.”
I take a deep breath. “Yeah. I suppose I’ll try.” He nods, taking off down the path. “I’ll be there at six,” I call to him, and he forces a smile.
I take a deep breath.
This is not going to end well.
I step out of the fireplace and into the warmth of the burrow. I can hear my family chatting away happily from the other room, laughter everywhere.
I step into the family room and everyone immediately stops talking. Rose smiles, “Al!” She gasps, and flies at me, wrapping her arms tightly around me.
I don’t smile.
I can’t smile.
I don’t even try to hug her back.
She pulls back and stares at me, confused.
“Albus,” Aunt Hermione asks softly, watching me carefully, “Why weren’t you, Lily, James, Ginny, and Harry at the graduation?”
I wince and look down at my feet.
“Yeah!” Uncle Ron agrees. “You’d think Harry would like to see his family graduate! He’s always been big on family.”
I stare at the floor, willing myself not to cry.
“Exactly!” Grandma says. “I just can’t understand why none of you were there at all, especially Harry—”
“Grandma!” Teddy cuts her off quickly, seeing I’m closing to my breaking point.
Everyone looks at him, and I sink down onto the couch.
Suddenly, I can’t help it anymore. I’ve held it in for too long.
I begin to cry.
Teddy’s eyes widen slightly. He’s the only one facing me. He’s the only one seeing my breakdown.
I cry silently, tears dripping down my face. My quiet breaths seem to rip through my lungs.
He’s gone. He’s gone.
“Teddy?” Andromeda asks.
Teddy opens his mouth to respond, but seems to choke on the words. He turns away. “I… I can’t…” he finally gets out.
Rose looks to me and sees me crying. “Oh, Merlin! Al, what’s wrong?” She demands, panic crossing her face.
Everyone looks to me, and I can see the terror settle on their faces too. I never cry.
Suddenly, Uncle George asks, “Where’s everybody else, Al?”
“At home,” I whisper. Everyone relaxes slightly until I say, “Mum and Lily won’t leave their rooms. James is a mess too. He’s been throwing things at walls.”
Grandma shrieks. “What happened?”
Then, it seems to occur to Aunt Hermione. What I didn’t say. What I implied.
Her eyes go wide. She stares wildly at me and then says, “What about Harry? Albus… What…?”
I begin to cry again. No, sob. My chest feels as if it is on fire.
I can’t help it.
The room freezes, slowly everyone’s eyes widen, and they all pale.
“Is… Is… Harry dead, Albus?” Uncle Percy asks fearfully.
I continue to sob. Teddy manages to choke out, “No… He’s gone. Nobody knows where he is… He’s…”
I pull my knees to my chest and bury my face in them, still crying. I can’t stop.
Everything hurts. So bad…
“How?” Grandpa breathes.
“No—no—nobody—knows—” I stutter.
Rose wraps her arms around me again and whispers, “Al… Oh, Al…”
I hug her back this time, crying into her shoulder.
We stay like that for a very long time.
: I’m glad you all enjoy the story so much! I had lots of fun writing this chapter.
Also, here’s a preview for the next chapter:
“You can’t give up like that! You don’t know he’s dead! What if he’s really alive out there somewhere and you’re just giving up? No.”
I shiver and look up at him helplessly. “What do I do then?”
“Find him,” he says as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world.
“How?” I ask tiredly, hopelessly. “I don’t know where he is. No one does. We don’t even have a hint.”
I’ll post the chapter as soon as possible!